Longtime real estate brokerage Long & Foster has plenty of experience in weathering previous recessions, giving it confidence when it comes to dealing with the ups and downs of the housing market, according to CEO and president Jeff Detwiler.
“Having been in business since 1968, we have lived through other downturns, and we have learned to operate our company effectively in the market’s ebbs and flows,” he said. “As we have always done, we are maintaining our focus on our core business areas — real estate, mortgage, settlement, insurance, property management and vacation rentals.”
Strategic Real Estate Technology Investments
But Long & Foster — a real estate brokerage with 10,000 sales associates from New Jersey to North Carolina and is now part of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate — is not just taking a defensive posture when it comes to recession-proofing its business, according to Detwiler. The company is also going on the offensive to stay in step with changing realities of the marketplace.
“We are identifying strategic investments that align with changing consumer and agent needs,” he said. “Those opportunities range from investing in technology to allow our associates to work with their clients from anywhere, to rationalizing our total retail square footage.”
In the meantime, Detwiler doesn’t see any imminent signs of the housing market taking a dramatic turn from its current trajectory.
“From what we see in the regions where we do business, conditions will remain relatively steady for the near-term. While every market is different, that means continued inventory shortages and pent-up buyer demand driving home prices higher — albeit at a slower rate than what has occurred over the past year.”
Economic Slowdown Could Help Housing Market
Detwiler also argued that a broader slowdown in the U.S. economy could have advantages for real estate brokerages and others finding it tough to compete in the red-hot real estate market.
“An economic slowdown, as predicted by many industry analysts, could bring a more balanced market and ease housing demand,” he said.
This article is fifth in a series spotlighting how different real estate industry leaders leverage property data and technology to hedge against housing market volatility. Below are the first four parts of the series.